Women of Abstract Expressionism

June 12, 2016–September 25, 2016
Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959

Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959. Oil on canvas; 77-5/8 x 131-1/4 x 1-1/8 in. Denver Art Museum: Vance H. Kirkland Acquisition Fund. © Elaine de Kooning Trust

Mary Abbott, All Green, about 1954. Oil paint on linen.

Mary Abbott, All Green, about 1954. Oil paint on linen, 49 x 45 1/8 in. Gift of Janis and Tom McCormick, 2013.250. © Mary Abbott

Judith Godwin, Epic,1959. Oil paint on canvas (diptych)

Judith Godwin, Epic, 1959. Oil paint on canvas (diptych), 82 x 100 in. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Gift of Caroline Rose Hunt. Photograph by Lee Stalsworth. © Judith Godwin.

Perle Fine, Summer I, 1958-59. Oil paint and collage on canvas.

Perle Fine, Summer I, 1958-59. Oil paint and collage on canvas, 57 x 70 in. Collection of Craig A. Ponzio. Image courtesy McCormick Gallery, Chicago. © AE Artworks, LLC.

Ethel Schwabacher, Antigone I, 1958. Oil paint on canvas.

Ethel Schwabacher, Antigone I, 1958. Oil paint on canvas, 51 x 85 in. (129.54 x 215.9 cm). Collection and courtesy of Christopher C. Schwabacher and Brenda S. Webster. © Estate of Ethel Schwabacher

Now Closed: June 12, 2016–Sep 25, 2016
Hamilton Building - Level 4

The groundbreaking exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism celebrated the often unknown female artists of this mid-twentieth-century art movement. More than 50 major paintings were on view by artists working on the East and West Coasts during the 1940s and '50s: Mary Abbott, Jay DeFeo, Perle Fine, Helen Frankenthaler, Sonia Gechtoff, Judith Godwin, Grace Hartigan, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Deborah Remington, and Ethel Schwabacher. This was the first presentation of works by these artists together at one time.

Women of Abstract Expressionism focused on the expressive freedom of direct gesture and process at the core of abstract expressionism, while revealing inward reverie and painterly expression in these works by individuals responding to particular places, memories, and life experiences.

An original video was on view in the exhibition (watch trailer in the slide show at top), and included accounts about exciting moments in these artists' lives, as well as issues affecting women during this time period. An educational lounge offered a space for visitors to explore the climate of the 1950s through images, ephemera, and music (with a playlist available on Spotify), a glimpse into other aspects of the artists' lives, and a chance to reflect upon and share personal experiences.

An illustrated catalog accompanied the exhibition.

The exhibition was organized by the Denver Art Museum and curated by Gwen Chanzit, the museum's curator of modern art. After the DAM, the exhibition traveled to the Mint Museum, Charlotte, October 22, 2016–January 22, 2017 and the Palm Springs Art Museum February 18–May 29, 2017.

Plan Your Visit

Women of Abstract Expressionism (on view June 12–September 25, 2016) is included in general admission and is free for members.

Become a member or renew your membership online or call 720-913-0130 (10 am–5 pm).

Group Tickets, Group Tours & Event Rentals

Specially priced tickets for groups of 10 or more are now available, as well as reservations for private gallery rentals and events. Exhibition tours for groups also can be scheduled (offered Tuesday–Friday, 3-week advance reservations required).

Please contact group sales at 720-913-0088 or email groupsales@denverartmuseum.org for group tickets and booking details.


Exhibition Catalog for Women of Abstract Expressionism
Women of Abstract Expressionism

Women of Abstract Expressionism is organized by the Denver Art Museum. It is generously funded by Merle Chambers; Henry Luce Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; the Ponzio Family; U.S. Bank; Christie’s; Harmes C. Fishback Foundation Trust; Barbara Bridges; DAM Contemporaries, a support group of the Denver Art Museum; Dedalus Foundation; Bette MacDonald; Joan Mitchell Foundation; Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; Deborah Remington Charitable Trust for the Visual Arts; the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign; and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight, and The Denver Post.

The film, produced in association with Women of Abstract Expressionism, is generously supported by Barbara Bridges and DAM Contemporaries, a support group of the Denver Art Museum.